Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Professional Issues in the Workplace COMPSCI3012

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Computing Science
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course is intended for Graduate Apprenticeship students only.


By their third year, Graduate Apprentices will have gained significant experience of working as a Software Engineer. During their time in the workplace, they will have already encountered many of the ethical and social issues associated with professional Software Engineering. Drawing on this experience, and building on the material taught in years one and two, this course will allow apprentices to synthesise and evaluate what they have learned, while being exposed to an even broader range of issues via seminars and suggested readings. Acknowledging that apprentices will have encountered potentially quite disparate issues in their respective workplaces, the assessment of this course allows significant flexibility in the issues considered.


One hour online seminar per week over 10 weeks.

Requirements of Entry

Workplace Assessment Year 1

Workplace Assessment Year 2

Excluded Courses





■ Two academic essays, each worth 20% [40%]

■ Two work-based reports, each worth 20% [40%]

■ Group presentation [20%]

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below.


The nature of the reports and essays is such that it takes a significant number of days to produce them, and this effort is infeasible for supporting the re-doing of such coursework over the summer. The presentation cannot be redone as it is completed as part of a group.

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to formalise and consolidate apprentices' understanding of ethical, social, and professional issues that relate to Software Engineering. The course also aims to develop apprentices' verbal and written argumentation skills, honing their ability to construct well argued and properly researched positions on issues encountered in their professional experience as Software Engineers. In addition, the course aims to develop apprentices' critical thinking skills by encouraging them to critically engage with the arguments put forward by others.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:


1. Explain the ethical and social issues they have encountered in the workplace.

2. Apply relevant professional codes of conduct in the workplace.

3. Analyse the ethical and social issues that relate to the profession of Software Engineering more broadly.

4. Evaluate, synthesise and present arguments about issues related to Software Engineering.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.